Note: This post is written by ASU Business Senior, Sydney Lang. Sydney is one of five interns that elected to do their senior project with Gangplank.
I have a long history with Chandler, Arizona, and although our relationship is tested in the summer (it’s late September, and over 100 degrees!), it’s filled with enduring love – the basis of which can only be understood by Chandler residents.
Historic Downtown Chandler is the epicenter of our affection. I associate Downtown Chandler with the businesses on Arizona Avenue, north of Frye Road and south of Ray Road. Historic Downtown Chandler is home to some key sites often missed or overlooked by outsiders that are reflective of Chandler’s unique culture and background.
Brindley’s Music Center has called Downtown Chandler home for the past 15 years. When I was ten years old, I purchased my first guitar at Brindley’s. Eight years later, after escaping from corporate retail, I was a Brindley’s employee. I can only describe my experiences with Brindley’s as life-changing. During my time with Brindley’s, the store’s owners, siblings Bruce and Sandy Brindley, taught me to love business. They showed me that in business, the ability to create and foster relationships is the key to success.
Now, on to the food…Mexican
El Sol Bakery: Downtown Chandler has so many great Mexican restaurants, but there are two that stand out most. If you’ve never eaten at El Sol, you’ve never tried the Super Bueno, which means you’re really missing out on a great culinary experience. El Sol’s Super Bueno is a breakfast burrito with egg, cheese, potatoes, bacon, and ham. I’ve eaten breakfast burritos before, but nothing compares to El Sol’s Super Bueno. It is the greatest burrito of all time and, trust me, I don’t say that lightly. Although El Sol’s salsa is now sold in Costco, lunchtime is best celebrated with a Super Bueno and El Sol’s fresh salsa.
Also noteworthy: 5 fried tacos for $5: crunchy fried tortilla with shredded beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and El Sol Bakery’s famous salsa – beautiful.
Elmer’s Tacos: Located near Chandler High School, Elmer’s tacos is a relatively cheap alternative to El Sol Bakery. Elmer’s burritos are known to put customers into what’s commonly referred to as a “burrito coma” due to their mass and irresistible nature. Currently ,my favorite Elmer’s dish is a cheese quesadilla, with a buttered tortilla and homemade red sauce.
Also noteworthy: The “Austin Special,” a breakfast burrito consisting of eggs, beans, cheese, and potatoes, rivals even the Super Bueno in taste.
Newcomers in Downtown Chandler
Gangplank: I heard about Gangplank last year in an introductory marketing class and, because I wanted to gain a deeper insight into the world of coding and technology, I really wanted to learn more about it. The only thing that stopped me from visiting Gangplank was the idea that, being a business student, I would not “fit in” with business professionals. After my first “official” volunteer session with Gangplank, I admit that my initial intimidation has given way to overwhelming excitement over Downtown Chandler’s newest member.
After my brief experience with Gangplank, I’ve formed the following opinions:
- Coworking introduces innovation and creativity: I’ve always believed that collaboration is one of the most important things in business. As individuals, we’re biased and sometimes limited by our unique viewpoints. Under most circumstances, in order to find creative solutions to complex problems, we need to understand many different viewpoints.
- The term “networking” has been redefined: Last semester as a course requirement, I read a book by a famous “networker.” The author attributed his success to the hundreds of names on his Blackberry, contacts gained through cyber-stalking and flattery. At one point in the book, he mentioned that he categorized his contacts based on their importance and, of course, he would contact them at a frequency based on their deemed importance. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO NETWORK! Networking should be about building relationships, rather than expanding a contact list. Gangplank has changed the way networking’s done, as it’s opened the door to allow business professionals to build useful relationships through coworking.
- “FREE” is rare but beautiful in a recession: Coworking at Gangplank is FREE. In the current recession, FREE can have dramatic results. We all know how expensive it can be to run a small business, but running a small business in a recession can be impossible. Cutting costs for most businesses means letting employees go and, unfortunately, that leads only to higher unemployment rates and hurt feelings. Gangplank offers small businesses a unique service that will allow them to GROW, even in a recession.
- The perfect punishment or the most unique date idea EVER: Apparently, a punishment for certain Gangplankers has been having to spend 24 hours at a Super Walmart. I can’t even imagine Man vs. Wild’s Bear Grylls attempting such a stunt, as it would test the limits of sanity, even in the strongest individuals. So, what do you pack when planning to spend 24 hours in a Walmart? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Hand sanitizer – and lots of it. This will protect you from the harsh physical environment.
- Rope – there is always a useful application for a good piece of rope. Rope can act as a weapon, an escape tool, or a hair tie, depending on the requirements of the situation. This makes it a necessary item to have for such an excursion.
- Pepto Bismol – There’s only so much McDonald’s you can have in a day.
From my experience, Downtown Chandler is the perfect setting for fantastic food, great people, and responsible businesses. From Downtown Chandler’s tried and true to its newest members, I would recommend a visit.